Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Rush: Decorating Statues with Sashes

While trawling through the internet yesterday afternoon Dearbhile happened to come across a picture of myself and Tanya on the Elle Magazine website.

Tanya and I faintly remember a lovely lady asking to take our picture at the Swarvoski Rocks Giles party during London Fashion Week, cialis 40mg information pills but what with all the cocktails, store here and bizarre celebrity sightings, price we thought nothing more of it. Turns out our hounds tooth prints caused quite a stir. According to Elle they’re bang on trend this season, which is great news considering both items were fairly cheap vintage discoveries.


Visit the Elle page here and read the story of our night on the website.

Nestled in one side of London Fashion Week’s cavernous exhibition is the fascinating, more about intriguing and enlightening Estethica mini exhibition. Now in its fifth season, it is a celebration of all things eco, organic, and environmentally friendly.

Truthfully, Monsoon has only ever conjured up thoughts of a high street chain store catering for people on a budget who were clinging to the boho chic look of, oh you know, decades ago. Quel surprise! Monsoon are actually a strong force in ethical fashion markets and I was embarrassed by my naivety towards this fascinating label, which works with communities around the world to meet ethical standards of work and runs trusts to support children, working communities and families. Their clothing and accessories feature the finest examples of craftsmenship from around the world to ensure these glorious techniques stay within the public realm – embrodiery from Afghanistan, printing in India.


Monsoon here represents a host of fabulous brands who are challenging the constraints and, frankly, sticking the fingers up at fashion power houses. They are proving that there is simply no excuse for not being ethically minded. The handout states ‘only through a combined effort can designers, industry, government and consumers create a more sustainable clothing culture’. Agreed.

The heads of Estethica are having their feathers ruffled, though. In a society where everyone is becoming more aware of their social responsibilities (some, albeit, slower than others) it’s long become fashionable to be ethical. Sadly (but not surprisingly) brands are jumping on the band wagon. Labels are including ‘vintage scraps’ in their collections just to appeal to the conscious fashionista, or using fairtrade cotton in one t-shirt line and shouting it from the rooftops. Oh dear. So how do we know that this isn’t going on here? A green logo or a photograph of child smiling happily as he/she worked in cotton fields wasn’t going to be enough. Well, this season Estethica have appointed the Estethica partners – a team of individuals and organisations who subject anyone claiming to be ethical to rigid analysis and thorough checks. Okay, I’m convinced, now show me some hot looks!

Well, first up – Nitin Bal Chauhan. His vibrant, decadent jump suits and elegant (but still wild) tailored suits would fit perfectly into any fashion confident wardrobe. Launched in 2005, his fashion label promotes the ‘Himachal handloom and handicrafts industry by using exclusive fine woolen fabric,’ which is hand woven by skilled craftmen in Delhi, India. A eco-concious man, Nitin’s fashion label sisters his film and art projects, which promote similar causes to great effect, and to critical acclaim – no less than a nomination at the Asian Film Festival. A talented visionary and you should expect to see a lot more of him in the future.


If you were looking for a celebrity endorsed ethical label, look no further than the Environmental Justice Foundation. Luella Bartley and Christian Lacroix have already provided (free of charge, I might add) their own designs to apply to their ethically produced t-shirts. This season, step up, Allegra Hicks, John Rocha and Zandra Rhodes, who provide their own take on earth matters. Giles’ tee is expectedly minimalist chic – a simple flower design, whilst Zandra’s is vibrant and playful. They’re designed with childhood as a theme – a tribute to the million plus children forced into labour. Suitably, all the profits go straight back into charitable causes, so grab one of these ‘must have ethical items’ before they’re gone.

I had a very interesting chat with a fabulous woman known only to me as Agent Zuzu. She wasn’t as illusive as her name sounds, and she did tell me her real name, mind you, but the second she told me it I knew I’d forget it. I’ll have to refer to her as Zuzu, sadly. Her assistant was a big fan of the magazine (natch), even quoting the countless bands and designers that Amelia’s has been a platform for. Zuzu (I’m sorry) is the promoter behind the eco label Makepiece who produce beautiful clothing, right here in the UK, with a conscious. They too want fabulous outfits – but they also want human rights, environmental sustainability, reduced chemicals and carbon footprints and an end to the landfill. They trust who they work with and all of their pieces are compostable (like you’d be throwing any of these items away). From the tightest knitted dresses with ruffle cap sleeves (produced ethically in North Yorkshire) to casual tops and skirts, fashion and style are no obstacle here with a range of colours and cuts.

Not all brands were about womenswear. Brazilian, youthful footwear brand Veja (Portugese for ‘look’) produces stylish footwear, not dissimilar to Shoreditch plimsolls – but with more of a choice than black or white. Organic cotton and wild rubber from the Amazon are fused together by Brazilian workers who are paid fairly for the craftsmenship, to produce stylish and practical footwear for fashion concious men and women.

Continuing with shoes, Beyond Skin claim to produce ‘beautiful AND ethical footwear’ and they proved this at the exhibition with a mixture of stiletos and flats in a varied colour pallete – neutrals, which seem to be popular this season, and brights.

…and there was so much more. I was exhausted. I was just about to leave this fascinating area of creativity, heading for the nearest, chicest bar where I could get a Chambord cocktail or a mug of tea, and I stumbled across Bllack Noir. This Danish label dispells any fears fashionistas might have about having to wear a shapeless hemp sack to wear ethical. Their lavish frocks and luxurious fabrics hold a secret – they’re ALL dreamed up and manufactured ethically. Luxury silk trousers, sharp, glittered tailored suits and bias cut dresses all feature and sit side by side any fashion powerhouse rival.
To see it for yourself visit their website which features all of their looks and displays an interesting (if not a little lengthy) code of practice to which all of their products are made.

There were over 40 brands on display in this part of the exhibition, too many to go through each in detail. If you’re interested in ethical fashion, do check out Article 23‘s fusion of smart menswear and sportswear, produced in India by a women’s cooperative; Deborah Lindquist‘s brave and edgy knitwear, made from – amongst other materials – recycled cashmere; Junky Styling and Revamp’s fantastic recycled clothing, catering for a the hip end of the market (where no two pieces are the same – everything re-cut and transformed from recycled charity shop goods); and so on.


Refreshingly though, this segment of the exhibition didn’t throw it in your face, as I had feared. I understand that this emotional technique is often needed, but I don’t think it was that necessary here – and after all, we’re here to interpret fashion. I think too much Save The Planet flapping would have distracted from the clothes themselves, and the resounding point is that with careful consideration, research and a conscience, you can still look fabulous.
1950s & 1960s is showing at the Photographers’ Gallery until the 16th November. The exhibition is a selection from three sources: Jean Straker, about it David Hurn and The Daily Herald newspaper, more about all of which document aspects of Soho during its rather peculiar epoch.
Images, historical images, rarely fail to spark up some sort of intense flash of nostalgia within me. Perhaps because such images show things gone forever: beautiful things, exhilarating and ominous things, which create a sense of loss, of missing out on a bygone era.
At the moment of the 50s, beehives and gin hummed through London, somewhat more voraciously than any previous 50s revival. It’s quite nice then to plunge into the place from which it all derived.
It seems today’s Soho is all but a faint charge of the former sexed up version, being now composed of some rather dreary sex shops and a denizen of bars. Maybe history romanticized Soho in the 50s. However I think Soho was, most certainly awash with something dark and glittering.
Unfortunately this isn’t really shown at The Photographers’ gallery, not really. There’s lots of nudes, and yes, that was a huge part of Soho, a vast part even, but it’s a bit dull after awhile. The photographs by David Hurn are quite funny (I just hope they’re supposed to be). They document Soho’s strippers both at work and resting. The strip clubs themselves are the funny bit. It’s a rather odd set up-the way seats are arranged around a boxing ring. Members of the audience have hilarious expressions, riddled with awkwardness.
There are some edited photos, accompanied by cuttings, all by anonymous photographers of the Daily Herald. These are the most interesting part. They capture the rush of excitement, the buzz that you think about when you think of Soho in the 50s and 60s. A plethora of crime, music, gin and Tommy Steele (whom I’d hadn’t ever heard of, and am not embarrassed to say so; but I am sure he was and is-for he still remains with us-spectacular. He looks like an awful lot of fun regardless.)
Soho Archives is ultimately a historical exhibition: it doesn’t really do anything. It only presents a small fragment of Soho which feels slightly limp.
Along side Dryden Goodwin’s exhibition Cast, this is going to be the last exhibition held at The Photographer’s gallery before it moves. Featuring an exhibition such as this does show the Galleries value of the importance of photographic Archives.





The London Vintage Fashion Fair takes place every six weeks at either the Hammersmith Town Hall or the Olympia Hilton hotel in Kensington.

In this tough economic climate, cheap there’s an abundance of lifestyle features about the art of credit crunch chic. “swap clothes with your friends” they suggest, more aboutinvest in classic pieces, healing ” they murmur. My cheap chic solution? Vintage. Or TK Maxx, but vintage sounds much classier.

It’s perhaps serendipitous then that The London Vintage Fashion Fair took place recently. A hallowed six-weekly affair hosted by either the Hammersmith Town Hall or the Olympia Hilton hotel in swanky Kensington, that was dreamed up by vintage dealer Paola Francia-Gardiner five years ago.

The London Vintage Fashion Fair is not the only brainchild of established antiques purveyor Francia-Gardiner. A long-time vintage maven who is said to have coined the now omnipresent term ‘vintage fashion’ and founder of the popular fair which attracts more than one hundred vintage dealers from the UK and abroad, Francia-Gardiner’s fair offering pieces dating from 1800 to the 1980s.

Hammersmith is conspicuously absent from my go-to list for clobber, having resisted the urge as a student to frequent the area’s once flagship Primark. But, armed with a map, a longing for genuine – i.e. not of supermarket provenance – vintage and a determination to find this so-called vintage fashion Mecca, I made a rare foray into West London.

With fabulous Art Deco crocodile bags from £35, original seventies costume jewellery by the likes of Givenchy and Kenneth Jay Lane at upwards of £40, and a wealth of vintage clothing from manifold decades, the organisers’ description of the fair as “the Rolls Royce of the Vintage Fashion Fairs” is not hyperbolic.


The fair I attended appeared to have an emphasis on earlier vintage but gladly my current favourite fashion epoch, the covetable British boutique movement, was represented in the form of a fabulously psychedelic full length Zandra Rhodes confection and a rather chic Janice Wainwright jersey column replete with panels made out of tricky-trend-du-jour lace.

My only cause for concern was the changing rooms – or rather lack thereof. Needless to say it took some time to become accustomed to trying on sixties Parisian couture in the imposing Art Deco hall’s toilets, but this is a very small price to pay for access to this incredible fair’s stock and refreshingly friendly sellers.



Despite the wealth of beautiful vintage on offer, I left the London Vintage Fashion Fair empty handed, but armed with a new go-to place for vintage. The London Vintage Fashion Fair is indeed a vintage Mecca; and a pilgrimage for any vintage lover.



As if the boom of green living (just what do we print on exactly?!) wasn’t enough to fill designers with fear, information pills the current collapse of the economy doesn’t exactly leave much hope for us creative minded.


Climate Camp 2007 on the march for Heathrow, click cardboard images represent a cross-section of the worlds population created by John Jordan and the Climate Camp team

Yet, cialis 40mg as Jody Boehnert of Eco-Labs writes in Creative Review designers are actually an important player in the move toward a sustainable society, defined as “key intermediaries between science, policy and the public.” Furthermore Alastair Fuad-Luke author of the Eco Design Handbook outlines us as designers employ “the power of the design process to engage, raise awareness, amplify existing capacity and generate transformative actions.” A perfect example of this is the manifestation of Climate Camp in the bringing together of diverse individuals to create peaceful protests demonstrating the importance of change, particularly in our dependance on fossil fuels. Workshops, meetings and marches culminated to successfully shut down the Kingsnorth power station this year.

“The camp makes sophisticated use of the media and its networks through an extensive communications strategy” remarks Creative Review. Not only in the handling of the media, but the artwork it employs to target awareness of change acts to “transform voices of activists into legitimate high profile calls for change.”


The Swiss army knife logo was found pasted around London, on flyers and as the opening image on the Climate Camp website


A spread from the Climate Camp newspaper “You are here”


Map from the Climate Camp newspaper

Take the Swiss army knife identity for this years Climate Camp created by Manchester based studio Ultimate Holding Company and how it intelligently depicts all tools of activism… a wrench, book, wind turbine, loud speaker. Or this years newspaper entitled “You Are Here,” which cleverly uses word and image to draw you into the debate slowly, climate change is not mentioned until you’ve read a few pages. John Jordan, activist at the camp and contributing designer of the paper explains the idea of the paper, “to make publicity materials which have the slickness of corporate media yet the punch of rebel flyers, the poetic writing of literature yet the political analysis of radical theory.” This combined aesthetic Creative Review claims to hold similarity to anarchist revolutionary visual codes of earlier activists movements, yet the effect is to be attractive to everyday people. Perhaps this explains why there was such a varied background was achieved at at this years camp (including all of us from Amelia’s!).

A fresh perspective with the brief of saving the world now, designers need to engage participation and desire, to “create a sense of a generational mission and help build understanding of a very real planetary emergency.”
Denim, stomach that noble savage of fabrics, approved is a tough one to get overly excited about. Granted, pills there is nothing like the comforting hug of an old faithful pair of jeans. And it has been a pleasure to get reacquainted with the stonewashed species after years in the cold. But any attempt at something ‘different’- embellishment, embroidery, paint splashes, frills, feathers-no matter how expensive or supposedly tasteful, always seems to end hideously.

So it was with trepidation that I approached the ‘Lee Cooper 100 years‘ auction project, part of a year long cavalcade of events celebrating a century of the Cooper family business. Designers, celebrities, companies and, erm, Playboy were invited to create unique and iconic pieces from denim, for sale at a special auction in Paris on 29th September, with all proceeds going to the French Red Cross and Aids charities.

This kind of affair, a celebrity endorsed event for famine/climate change, does tend to have a distasteful odour around it. Ideally, the bidders and celebrities would just donate money without all the palaver, but the world doesn’t work like that. One has to be pragmatic about these things- especially for such undeniably important causes.

It would be great to say some aesthetically unexpected and wonderful emerged from all of this; say Linford Christie as London’s next big design talent, perhaps? However, it seems to be the usual suspects doing their ‘iconic’ thing, with the rest as a heavily embellished filler.

Giles Deacon heads the pack with an armour-like, precisely cut dress that looks starched to within an inch of its life. It is a glorious combination of (literal) toughness and softness, almost like a prom dress crossed with a nun’s habit; serious in its high, austere neckline but playful with the accompanying vampire smiley necklace. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac matches Giles for barminess (the people would expect nothing less); a jacket and sofa heave under numerous denim teddy bears. Visually more kaleidoscopic than it sounds and a sunbeam of humour.

Giles Deacon dress

The rest is fine to unpleasant, with some bad paintings and even worse embellished denim, but there are a few (nice) surprises. The denim Playboy bunny suit is a collision of two American icons and is trashily good fun. Jade Jagger’s contribution is surprisingly good, with a little help from a certain rocker; a denim jacket with a gold pair of the Stone’s melting lips emblem on the back.

Jade Jagger jacket

Some of most arresting pieces aren’t clothes at all, such as the denim Marshall amp and upholstered Landrover. The auction itself promises a few secret surprises- the denim version of the eccentrically attired fashion blogger Diane Pernet’s signature get-up sounds the most intriguing. A few stand out pieces, plus the promise of more on the day, maybe isn’t such a bad lot after all.


Johnny Foreigner are a glimpse of what the world would be like if we all still loved Blink 182 as much as we used to. Filled with an overbearing predisposition for teen angst, sale I can imagine a lot of people walking away saying little else than, pill “Well, price they were a bit annoying and whiney.”

There are moments where all the Dude Ranch influence is teamed with some very English, Hot Club De Paris style guitars and vocals. It seems to work in a really wrong way. It’s the kind of music you of have to lower your music taste to enjoy fully. I found it best just to forget the fact that I stopped listening to bands like this about the same time I realised how awful the Austin Powers movies are – sorry if this makes me sound pretentious, but it was more the fact that bands like this have been around for ages. Go to any town and you’ll find a band with a similar sound. There’s no doubt that Johnny Foreigner do it well, it’s just not what I’m accustomed to enjoying anymore.

One wonderful thing about the gig was that it was the first time I’ve seen a crowd go genuinely wild for quite some time, especially in a club like Madame Jo Jo’s. The crowd seemed to be almost tidal, with people literally being thrown around. People screaming along, with their hands aloft – I think if a band can have that effect on a crowd you can’t really fault them.

The end of their set saw the guitarist from Dananananaykroyd join them on stage. I was sorely disappointed to have missed their support slot (manly due to lengthy, mad dash around Piccadilly Circus trying to find my friend before the gig). It kind of made up for missing them, and the lead singers crowd surf was well worth staying to the end for. The entire gig seemed to be one big guilty pleasure.


Since I went up to Wales to attend the Howies Do Lectures I have found myself hanging out even more with my friend Tamsin Omond, sick trying to figure out ways to put the world to rights, and more specifically to engage the public in the need for direct action to affect the policies made by our government on our behalf when it comes to Climate Change. Tamsin is one of the Plane Stupid crew who climbed onto the roof of parliament in order to protest against airport expansion, and a mere year since her first involvement in the Climate Change movement she has decided to create the Climate Rush. This was inspired by the discovery that we are fast approaching the 100th anniversary of the Suffragettes Rush on Parliament, which took place on October 13th 1908. Christabel Pankhurst deliberately used the ambiguous word Rush to imply urgent action, although she was not clear what precisely she meant, saying that “by rushing the House of Commons, the suffragettes mean going through the doors, pushing their way in, and confronting the Prime Minister.” Following this momentous action (and many others less well known) women were given the vote.




getting ready for an action in an alley near Parliament Square

Tamsin has decided to celebrate this awe inspiring event with a rally of her own to lobby for Climate Action, and so was born the Climate Rush. She and I are part of a fast growing movement of eco-activists who believe that marches, petition signing and other purely lobbying actions do not seem to be having the effect that we urgently require. Look at the anti-war marches! Despite vast numbers of people marching for peace the government did not listen to the voices of their people. Step down shamed, Mr Blair. So here is the perfect chance to dress up and emulate a pivotal point in history, hopefully with as much effect as the direct action of the Suffragettes so many years ago.


we headed for the Churchill statue overlooking parliament, where a banner was unfurled just like the ones that the Suffragettes used.


point made well I think, looking somewhat triumphant

The main rally for the Climate Rush will of course be held on October 13th 2008, and I urge you, men and women (whilst this is a women-led cause, it is entirely inclusive – we all live on this earth) to join us, preferably in Edwardian costume. A great line-up has been secured, including the indominatable Caroline Lucas, Green MEP and activist, prominent feminist Rosie Boycott and former Lib Dem MP Baroness Tonge. This event is for us all, and we’d love to bring 60,000 people to Parliament Square, just like the brave Suffragettes did all those years ago. We will be calling for No New Coal, No Airport Expansion and a fair and realistic new Climate Bill. (Clue – if the government goes ahead with its plans for New Coal and Airport Expansion as currently planned then it will fall short of any sensible targets for mitigating the kind of Climate Change that will drastically alter life on earth.)



and onto Nelson Mandela’s statue. I think he would approve.


Prior to this event we are going to be raising awareness with a nod and a wink to the Suffragettes before us. So, with that in mind, today we got up ridiculously early (5.30am folks) and, dressed in Edwardian garb and red sashes (the Suffragettes wore purple) we dressed the statues of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square. We then walked on to Victoria Station where we daubed chalk slogans on the pavement for the benefit of the stream of commuters exiting the station on their way to work. Expect more inspiring actions to follow in the weeks leading up to the rally, and I look forward to seeing you at the Climate Rush!




chalking on the pavement


hopefully people will remember the date! there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned form of spreading the word…

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